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Kenyan Journalist Joins Ksh13 Billion Facebook Oversight Board

Kenyan Journalist Joins Ksh13 Billion Facebook Oversight Board”

Facebook Inc's new content oversight board will include a former prime minister, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and several constitutional law experts and rights advocates among its first 20 members, the company announced on Wednesday. The co-chairs are USA federal circuit judge Micheal McConnell, law expert Jamal Greene, attorney Catalina Botero-Marino and former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

The company can also refer significant decisions to the board, including on ads or on Facebook groups. The oversight body is in some ways an experiment in self-regulation for social media firms, following years of pressure to systematically crack down on hateful and false content while also protecting free expression.

The Oversight Board will review certain content decisions by Facebook and Instagram and make binding decisions based on respect for freedom of expression and human rights. Facebook said this week the members have lived in more than 27 countries, speak at least 29 languages and have a "wide range of views and experiences".

"When we begin hearing cases later this year, users will be able to appeal to the Board in cases where Facebook has removed their content, but over the following months we will add the opportunity to review appeals from users who want Facebook to remove content", said the company.

Facebook can not remove members or staff of the board, which is supported by a $130 million irrevocable trust fund. The former editor-in-chief of The Guardian when it was breaking news on the Edward Snowden's leaked NSA documents.

Jes Kaliebe Petersen, CEO of Myanmar tech-focused civil society organisation Phandeeyar, said he hoped the board would apply more "depth" to moderation issues, compared with Facebook's universal set of community standards. "We will make decisions based on those principles and on the effects on Facebook users and society, without regard to the economic, political or reputational interests of the company".

"Our financial independence is also guaranteed by the establishment of a $130 million (Ksh13 billion) trust fund that is completely independent of Facebook, which will fund our operations and can not be revoked". Two of the four co-chairs, Jamal Greene and Michael McConnell, are US law professors.

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Evelyn Aswad: a University of Oklahoma law professor and former State Department lawyer on global human rights standards.

However, in the last part of his post, Carr said that the board members of the new Facebook committee are not non-partisan people while pointing out one of the members of the board, Pamela Karlan, who was reported to have testified to President Donald Trump's impeachment trials.

Co-chair Michael McConnell said during the press call, "The sheer volume of decisions makes it impossible for the board to look at every controversy, decide every appeal, look at every case".

Greene is a Columbia Law professor whose scholarship focuses on constitutional rights adjudication and the structure of legal and constitutional argument.

- Julie Owono: Digital rights and anti-censorship advocate in Africa who leads Internet Sans Frontieres. He is a former federal judge who was appointed by former President George W. Bush to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In terms of timing, Facebook said it is still assessing how the global response to the coronavirus pandemic may impact important steps required for the board to reach full operational capability, including recruiting staff, training members and implementing tools that are essential to ensuring data privacy and security.

- Nicolas Suzor: A Queensland University of Technology Law School professor who focuses on the governance of social networks.



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